Keep it Clean: Betsy Miller, who organizes closets all around 417-land, says that when you buy something new, you should get rid of something old.
A preschool-aged Betsy Miller complained to her grandmother after a dinner party: “They are putting things away where they don’t belong, and they won’t listen to me because I’m little.” Now grown up, the story crossed her mind. “I was in a job that I didn’t like and I wasn’t going to grow or change anything,” she says. “I thought, ‘What can I do that I’m really good at?’” And she knew. Organize.
That was nearly 20 years ago. Today, Miller’s business, 2B Organized (417-880-2325, 2b-organized.com), includes four franchises, and she’s even worked on television shows like Hoarders and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. “There are two things that most people want more of—time and money,” she says. “Being organized helps you achieve both of these things.”
The first step to organization is always purging. For closets, take out anything that doesn’t fit or you haven’t worn. “Live in the moment,” she says. “I don’t care what weight you used to be. I don’t care what weight you’re going to be. We’re working on what fits you today.”
Miller isn’t saying that the process is a walk in the park. Purging stuff isn’t always easy, especially when things have emotional attachments. “I’ve never felt like Grandma wants a quilt to be put in a bin in your basement,” she says. She believes people want permission to let things go or to actually use them. “The solution is less stuff or honoring your stuff,” she says.
While purging, think about the space you have. You shouldn’t have more stuff than space. If shoes are spilling onto the floor, you have too many. If your closet is small, use creative storage solutions, like vacuum-sealed bags for off-season clothing. If you have a large closet, Miller says it doesn’t have to be full.
So, how much is too much? It depends on your lifestyle. “Embrace who you are,” Miller says. “If you are a yoga pants and T-shirts girl, why do you have 42 dresses in your closet?” No one needs more than 10 pairs of jeans. “You can only wear one pair at a time,” Miller says. As for sheets, two per bed is plenty. For towels, have three or four per person.
When you’ve pared down to the basics, place like items back in the closet together—when you pair all of your items like longsleeve black shirts or skirts together, it makes it easier when you go to look for something.
For a cohesive appearance, Miller recommends huggable hangers. She also recommends using wall space. “Command hooks are great for belts or necklaces,” she says.
Once your closet is organized, the “one in, one out” rule becomes vital. “When you get a new pair of shoes or jeans, come home and put one of those items in the donation station,” Miller says. “As the box fills up, off to donation it goes.”
The end result isn’t simply an organized closet but a more harmonious way of living. “It’s something you can actually control in a world that is out of control so much,” Miller says. “Things may be crazy, but at least I know in my little space, I have that under control.”
If that frustrated preschooler could have seen the future, she would know one thing for sure: Someday, people are definitely going to listen.
If you’re ready to get organized, these local companies are ready to help you get started, either by helping you organize your space or building you a custom closet you’ll love to keep clean.
Betsy Miller, 417-880-2325, 2b-organized.com
Cabinet Concepts By Design
4123 State Hwy. H, Springfield, 417-725-3400 cabinetconceptsbydesign.com
National Home Products
2726 S. Glenstone Ave. Springfield, 417-731-3220, nhp-spfd.com
The Closet Company
2979-K E. Chestnut Expy., Springfield, 417-849-5463